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The Most Anxious Cities in the US

Seattle is one of the most anxious cities in the US

Living in a big city comes with many advantages and opportunities people in small towns can only dream of. However, urban living can have many side effects, including a toll on your mental health and well-being. To demonstrate this, we've prepared a list of the most anxious cities in the US. We'll also talk more about the negative impact urban living can have on your mental health. Most importantly, we'll let you know how you can prevent it from happening to you and give ways to ease off your anxious mind.

The connection between urban living and mental health

People have always been drawn to big cities because of their vibrant culture and promise of better career opportunities. However, they are also associated with higher rates of most mental health problems than rural areas. From public transportation issues to rapidly rising rent costs, urbanites experience stress daily.

A bird's eye view of New York City during night

Taking care of your mental health is especially important if you live in a city

There are three primary ways city life makes a person’s anxiety spike:

  • City noise is one of the biggest anxiety triggers. There is hardly a peaceful and quiet place to find in any city with seemingly endless construction noise and congested street traffic. Research confirms that long-term city noise above a defined level can harm a person's health. It's also associated with increased depression.
  • Increased stress that comes with city life is also a major anxiety trigger. Urbanites are more sensitive to the chaos of different social commitments. They're also more susceptible to developing anger and frustration with something from their surroundings. A study showed that even the brains of city residents tend to become physically more receptive to social stress. This makes finding stress management techniques that work for you even more critical.
  • Mental illnesses are also more common in the city than in rural areas. Various stressors people experience in their everyday lives significantly contribute to developing different mental health disorders. City residents have much higher levels of mood disorders and other psychiatric problems.

Prevent city living from taking a toll on your mental health

Even though city life can have many adverse effects on your mental well-being, there are still ways to reduce your anxiety and lower your stress levels. Further in this article, you'll find helpful tips to deal with stressors in the big city and prevent potential anxiety issues.

Spend time in nature

Spending most of your time surrounded by concrete can negatively affect your mood and well-being. It's essential to spend time in nature as much as possible to prevent catching a rough case of city-living blues.

Different studies have even shown that being in touch with nature can help improve your mental well-being and prevent depression. Even a 10-minute stroll through your favorite park can do wonders for your mood.

A man sitting on a blanket next to a picnic basket in a park

Having a picnic in the park with your friends is a fun way to connect with nature

No matter how busy you get, there are still simple ways to incorporate nature into your everyday routine. For instance, try to switch from driving to walking to work. Or, if it's too distant, try walking only a portion of the route. Make sure to find a "greener" route to work, and we guarantee that you'll instantly feel better and more energized.

The good idea is to have lunch in a nearby park instead of a restaurant or the office kitchen. Ask your colleagues to join you, and your entire office will get an energy boost. Or, if you crave some peace and quiet, enjoy some alone time with your favorite food surrounded by greenery.

Get active

One of the best ways to get rid of the negative energy you've built up during the day is to exercise. Not only will you look great and stay in shape, but you will also feel much better. Working out makes us happier, improves our immune system, and helps prevent cardiovascular disease

And if your schedule is too busy and you don't have time to go to the gym, there are other ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. For instance, we have already mentioned walking instead of driving or taking public transportation to work.

Learn how to handle stressful situations

In the cities, stressful situations happen daily. Therefore, it's imperative to learn how to handle them easily. Otherwise, you might end up feeling on edge and anxious or even develop more significant psychological issues.

For instance, let's say you're moving to NYC and only have two weeks to do this. Even without a timer ticking, moving is a stressful event and can be a major anxiety trigger.

Instead of panicking, take a deep breath and start thinking of a solution. The team from suggests hiring experienced professionals to do most of the work for you. This will leave you with time to focus on other things, which will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Top 15 most anxious cities in the US

In November 2021, the Seattle Times team analyzed the data gathered from the Household Pulse Survey and published a list of the most anxious cities in the US. The survey includes data for each of the 50 states and Washington, DC, and the results might surprise you.

People sitting next to a lake in Central Park, NYC

If you live in NYC, a great way to escape city noise is to spend time at Central Park

Without further ado, here are America's most anxious cities with the percentage of the population who reported feeling "nervous, anxious or on edge":

  1. Seattle (54.5%)
  2. Houston (50.5%)
  3. Boston (48.8%)
  4. Philadelphia (48%)
  5. San Francisco (47.7%)
  6. Washington, DC (46.5%)
  7. Chicago (46.3%)
  8. Phoenix, Arizona (46.3%)
  9. Los Angeles (46.1%)
  10. Detroit (43.9%)
  11. Riverside, California (43.7%)
  12. Dallas (43.1%)
  13. New York City (42%)
  14. Miami (39.7%)
  15. Atlanta (39%)

Final thoughts on most anxious cities in the US

Even though living in a big city is exciting, you also need to be careful and take care of your mental health. But even if you're a resident of one of the most anxious cities in the US, there are still plenty of ways to overcome anxiety and stress. So focus on your needs and think about what makes you feel relaxed and serene, and you'll quickly find what works best for you.

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